HTC One Now In 18-Karat Gold

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) was first with its hot, new gold colored iPhone 5S. Samsung which claims it has been making gold phones for a while, responded to Apple's move with a gold colored Galaxy S 4 phone. Now, struggling phone maker HTC has topped both companies.  It announced an 18-karat gold-plated version of the popular HTC One smartphone.

HTC's limited edition model is called the One MOBO, and is not for sale to the general public. The very special phone was created as a prize for winners of Britain's "Music Of Black Origin" awards. The 18th annual ceremony is to be held in Glasgow, Scotland on Oct. 19th.

The super-exclusive phone is, in reality, a stock HTC One Android ( GOOG) smartphone with gold plating applied on the metal portions of the outer body. According to HTC, the very special gold body "is polished to give a sophisticated finish and a special MOBO 18 logo is laser etched on the rear of the device".

The HTC One MOBO is valued at $4,400. The company did not disclose whether this phone will be HTC's only gold-plated model.

Aside from the MOBO announcement, HTC may wind up having more news later this month. HTC has invited journalists to events in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong to witness the unveiling of a new product expected to be the One Max smartphone/tablet. The Max is rumored to be a much larger version of the HTC One. It's expected the new design will have a 5.9-inch touch-screen display (compared to the 4.7-inch screen on the One) as well as a top-of-the-line Qualcomm ( QCOM) Snapdragon 800 processor, a super-large battery and a fingerprint scanning system to compete with the system on the iPhone 5S.

Apple rumors are running rampant as well. According to published reports might feature a larger screen too. Not like a 6-inch phablet but something more pocketable - possibly in the 4.8-inch range. Currently, the iPhone 5S has a 4-inch touchscreen, while the screen on the HTC One is 4.7-inches and Samsung's Galaxy S 4 sports a 5-inch display.

Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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